Multi Party Conference against debt repayments

Labour Relief Campaign has called a multi party conference on Sunday 29th August in Lahore. The conference will discuss the issue of repayments of the debts and post flood scenario. The conference will take place at Hotel Ambassador Lahore and will start at 2pm. Over 30 political parties’ trade unions and social movements are being invited to present their views.

The calling of the conference is part of the campaign for non payments of the foreign debts. The strategies adopted by the government of Pakistan to deal with the devastating situation after the blood could bring even more miseries in longer terms. The Government has been offered by World Bank to provide new loan to Pakistan of $900 million and the Asian Development Bank’s announcement for a $2 billion emergency loan. They are loans and not aid. If accepted, these loans will lead an already debt-trapped Pakistan to worst economic bewilderness.

An alternative strategy offered by Labour relief Campaign is to demand Pakistan say no to the repayments of the debts and stop raising more taxes and cuts in development budget.

One of the main aims of a proposed one day all parties conference will be to discuss the issues of debt in detail and to raise understanding among the political and social circles.

Instead of accepting new loan offers, Pakistan must stand for the total and unconditional repudiation of its foreign debt.  Time and again, countries facing tragedies, like Pakistan’s catastrophic flooding, are forced by International Financial Institutions and donor countries to mortgage their future as they borrow for relief and recovery efforts.  Thus, the tragedy is magnified for years to come.

The recent floods represent the worst disaster in Pakistan’s history. The country has been devastated from the Northern Areas to its Southern tip. The State, stripped of its capacity to meet peoples’ needs by neoliberalism and militarism alike, has been found wanting—both in its longstanding failure to maintain existing infrastructure, and in its response to the calamity.

The grassroots relief efforts that have emerged across the country are heartening, but a crisis of this magnitude can only be handled by an institution with the resources and reach of the federal government. As in all disasters, the assistance of the military will be necessary—but this must be subject to civilian oversight, and must not be exploited to glorify the Army at the expense of the civilian government. The military's relative strength is a direct legacy of pro-Army federal budgets.

Evidence is also emerging that links these floods to rising atmospheric temperatures, and thus to climate change. Three-quarters of all carbon emissions have been produced by only 20% of the world’s population, and it is the poor in the developing world who are bearing the brunt of the resulting environmental degradation. The rich countries ought to offer urgent reparations to Pakistan as compensation for suffering the costs of others’ industrialization.
The conference will also look into the negative impact of climate change in Pakistan.

Finally, after the corruption that marked earthquake relief efforts, we recognize the importance of the aid being distributed in a transparent and democratic manner. We support the creation of a separate national commission to oversee reconstruction spending, provided it fulfills its mandate and is made entirely open to public scrutiny. All relevant authorities, like the NDMA, should further be brought under civilian control.

All these issues will be open for discussion in the event to be organized on Sunday 29th August 2010 at Hotel Ambassador Lahore. Political parties except religious parties, main trade unions federations, social and peasant movements, professional organizations and youth groups will be invited to participate in this one day event. The conference will discuss further actions of mass mobilization to trail its agreed agenda.

Labour Relief Campaign formed in 2005 after the devastating earthquake in Pakistan is comprised of 8 organizations; they include National Trade Union Federation, Women Workers Help Line, CADTM Pakistan, Labour Party Pakistan, Progressive Youth Front, Pakistan For Palestine, Labour Education Foundation and Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee. LRC has been busy in organizing and raising funds for the flood victims and also launching a national campaign against payments of debts.

Following organization has been invited to the event.

1 Pakistan People’s Party 

2 Pakistan Muslim League (N) 

3 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf 

4 Workers Party  Pakistan 

5 National Party

6 Awami National Party 

7 Balochistan National Party 

8 Awami Tehreek 

9 Awami Party

10 Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party 

11 Saraiki National Party

12 Saraiki Party

13 Saraiki Look Party

14 National Trade Union Federation 

15 Pakistan Trade Union Defense Campaign 

16 Pakistan Workers Confederation 

17 Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights 

18 Peoples Rights Movement 

19 District Bar Association 

20 Lahore High Court Bar Association

21 Supreme Court Bar Association 

22 Pakistan Professors and Lecturers Association 

23 Pakistan Medical Association 

24 Pakistan Traders Association 

25 Human Rights Commission of Pakistan 

26 Peoples Labour Beauru   

27 Khawateen Mahaz-e-Amal 

28 Federal Union of Journalists  

29 Punjab Union of Journalists  

30 Lahore Press Club

31 Awami Jamhori Forum  

32 South Asia Partnership (SAP) 

33 OXFAM Pakistan 

34 Sangi Development Foundation  

35 Action Aid Pakistan



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